Improving Maternal Child and Adolescent Health

Infection & Immunisation



The focus of this theme is reducing infection amongst infants, children and adolescents. Infection remains a leading cause of under-5 mortality, as well as disease in all age groups. Our interest in reducing infections starts from preventing infections that may pass from mother to baby, which connects with the “First 1000 Days” theme. One example is the extraordinary success of preventing vertical HIV transmission, although many countries in the Asia-Pacific region have yet to adopt routine HIV testing in pregnancy. HIV also demonstrates the need to address complicated social issues – when behaviour and risk environments for instance intersect to place adolescents at increased risk. We also know that many of the most serious childhood infections are preventable through immunisation, which is the focus of work in the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) linked to our network.

Existing research includes work on HIV and tuberculosis, outbreak responses, vaccine development, implementation and coverage (from bench to field), long term impacts of infection – including neurodevelopmental impacts of brain infections and multiple vulnerabilities, antimicrobial resistance, youth engagement (nothing about us, without us) and engagement with other sectors such as Education, Water and Sanitation, Climate Change, Agriculture and Humanitarian Crises. We also encourage research that draws on synergies with other themes in our network.


Theme Leaders

Sarah BernaysNick Wood


Exemplar Projects

Diphtheria outbreak response and implementation of control measures in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp Bangladesh, housing Rohinga refugees who fled violence in Myanmar

Implementation research done in collaboration with WHO Southeast Asia Regional Office (SEARO) and the Global Outbreak and Response Network (GOARN).

Assessing the risk of diarrhoeal disease and drug resistance acquisition among Hajj pilgrims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia - in order to keep pilgrims and their families/communities safe

Implementation of face masks and use of meningococcal vaccines as prevention in Haji pilgrims. These studies are coordinated by the Marie Bashir Institute Mass Gathering Medicine research node.

Adolescent HIV social science programme in sub-Saharan Africa (Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa), involving 7 large qualitative, cohort and clinical trial studies

Funded by Wellcome Trust, Viiv Healthcare, Medical Research Council. In collaboration with LSHTM, UCL, MRC Uganda, CeSHHAR in Zimbabwe and Africa Health Research Institute and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Focus of studies involve: intervention development and evaluation across the HIV cascade of care; assessing acceptability of novel HIV treatment interventions; development of youth engagement models; strengthening ethical conduct of health research with children in low income settings; longitudinal research on migration, substance use and sexual risk.

Prevention of drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) in close contacts of adult cases with infectious multidrug resistant (MDR)-TB

The V-Quin project is conducted in 13 provinces of Vietnam. Studies exploring the risk factors and management of bacterial pneumonia in young children (Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children) and reducing the use of antibiotics outside the hospital setting in Vietnam, are ongoing. Studies are supported by the Woolcock Institute, Học Mãi Foundation and the newly established Sydney Vietnam Research Centre.


Selected Publications

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International Linkages

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